Embrace Being Fourth

Embrace Being Fourth

Illinois is the top soybean production state. But did you also know that if Illinois was a country, it would be the fourth-largest soybean producer in the world, behind Brazil, the rest of the U.S., and Argentina? With that market position, it’s clear we can have a significant influence. We need to embrace it with our leadership and help shape the global marketplace from our Illinois farms.

In 2018, Illinois produced 688 million bushels of soybeans. And we can handle them. The state has roughly 975 grain facilities and processing capacity of more than 21,300 metric tons per day.

We have other advantages in our favor as well:

  • Illinois is in the heart of U.S. soybean production with some of the most productive farmland in North America.
  • We grow a dependable soybean supply, with consistent quality year after year.
  • Efficient transport routes and options get our soybeans to destinations around the world.
  • We grow soybeans sustainably, with a focus on continuous improvement.
  • And we offer support to help customers successfully navigate the soy import process.

So how do we continue to capitalize on our strengths? We stay a step ahead of the competition.

That includes identifying promising markets. A team of ISA staff and producers took the lead in visiting India this spring, the world’s fastest-growing economy with significant population growth. Protein consumption there is increasing as the middle class grows, and high-quality feed will be needed to support growing poultry, aquaculture and dairy demand.

Our cover story in this issue of Soy Perspectives takes a look at the potential of this market. The ISA team met with a variety of business development, investment, logistics and commodity groups to understand economic factors that will drive the market, the climate for innovation and the potential opportunity for U.S. soy. ISA wants to understand the needs for the long term.

The exploration of India comes on the heels of trying to make up for the loss of China as our primary soybean market. Ongoing trade disputes and African swine fever have dried up much of the demand. We explore the situation in this issue, and we also address the related debate of whether the U.S. is just producing too much for the global marketplace.

What are the options for future soybean demand? One potential niche is container shipping. Most containerized U.S. soybeans originate in Illinois, as Chicago provides shippers with access to empty containers Illinois soybean farmers use as a lower-cost transport option that is competitive with bulk system and vessel freight costs. Learn more about the option in the pages ahead.

We have much to appreciate on our Illinois farms. Join me in embracing being the fourth-largest soybean producer by being first in helping build and service the global markets we need.